Stateside

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Today on Stateside:

  • The crisis grows for Michigan football: Shane Morris did suffer a concussion. Michigan Radio's sports commentator John U. Bacon shared his thoughts.
  • Fifty years ago, Ford gave America the Mustang, and America has loved it ever since. We look at the Mustang's past and its future.
  • Poet and writer Keith Taylor is here with his picks for our fall reading.
  • Detroit is getting serious about the luxury car business, but Detroit News columnist Daniel Howes doubted things would be any different this time.
  • First Write A House program winner Casey Rocheteau will be leaving Brooklyn to start her new life in her new Detroit house north of Hamtramck.
  • We explored the cloth doll Raggedy Ann’s strong roots in West Michigan.

*Listen to the full show above.

An original Raggedy Ann doll.
User: Muskegon Heritage Museum

If there's been a little girl in your life at any point, chances are pretty good that Raggedy Ann made her way into your home.

The cloth doll with the yarn hair and the candy-cane-striped stockings has been a part of America's toy scene for a century.

Raggedy Ann has some very strong roots in West Michigan.

Anne Dake is a curator at the Muskegon Heritage Museum. She says almost 90,000 Raggedy Ann dolls were handmade in Muskegon from 1918 to 1926.

According to Dake, the story of Raggedy Ann began when cartoonist Johnny Gruelle's daughter found a red doll at her grandmother's house. They painted her a new face, and Gruelle's daughter named it "Raggedy Ann."

"Her iconic smile, her joy ... Every time you see one, you can't help but smile and be happy," says Dake.

* Listen to our conversation with Anne Dake.

User: dithie / Flickr

Keith Taylor joined Stateside today with his picks for our fall reading.

Taylor is a poet and writer who coordinates the undergraduate creative writing program at the University of Michigan.

Here's the full list of Taylor's recommended fall readings:

1. "Motor City Burning" – a novel by Bill Morris. 

"The book is morally complex, more thought-provoking than spine-tingling," says Taylor.

2. "Bad Feminist" – a collection of essays by Roxanne Gay.

Casey Rocheteau
User: Write a House / facebook

The Write A House program is a creative way to fill some of Detroit's empty houses with writers, journalists, and poets.

Take a vacant house, renovate it and then award it to a writer whose work has been judged worthy. The writer promises to live in the house for at least 75% of the time, to pay taxes and insurance, and to become a part of Detroit's literary scene. Do that for two years and the house is yours.

The first winner of a house is poet Casey Rocheteau. She'll be leaving Brooklyn to start her new life in her new house north of Hamtramck. She says she feels honored to be selected to live in the house. 

"Honestly, I love the house, and I'm very ,very excited, because one of the things about Brooklyn is it's really hard to find a yard of any sort," says Rocheteau.

Write A House will be taking another round of applications early next year.

* Listen to our conversation with Casey Rocheteau above.

Michigan Athletic Director Dave Brandon
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A sports story out of Ann Arbor making headlines around the world.

Wolverine quarterback Shane Morris took a fierce blow to his head in Saturday's game with University of Minnesota.

He wobbled off the field, only to be sent back in.

That decision has ignited a firestorm of controversy.

Coach Brady Hoke stood firm at a regularly scheduled press conference yesterday. "We would never, ever, if we thought a guy had a concussion, keep him in the game. And we never have," Hoke said.

But then Michigan Athletic Director Dave Brandon released at 15-paragraph statement at 1 a.m. today. Brandon said, yes, Morris did suffer a concussion, as well as a high ankle sprain.

Sports reporters across the country are calling this a disaster on many levels, including Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon:

"Either they have no idea what the other guy is doing, or somebody is lying. Whenever you have a crisis, it always boils down to either the guy is incompetent, or he is corrupt. This time they are picking incompetent."

Bacon believes the question now is really when Hoke and Brandon will be gone.

"I can't imagine a scenario where these guys keep their jobs," says Bacon.

Late this afternoon, U of M President Mark Schlissel issued this statement:

As the leader of our university community, I want to express my extreme disappointment in the events surrounding the handling of an on-field injury to one of our football players, Shane Morris. The health and safety of our entire student community, including all of our student-athletes, is my most important responsibility as university president.

I have been in regular discussion regarding this incident and its aftermath with Athletic Director David Brandon and the Board of Regents. I support the immediate protocol changes that the department’s initial assessment has identified. I have instructed the Athletic Department to provide me, the Board of Regents, and other campus leaders with a thorough review of our in-game player safety procedures, particularly those involving head injuries, and will involve experts from the University of Michigan Health System in assessing its medical aspects. 

Despite having one of the finest levels of team medical expertise in the country, our system failed on Saturday. We did not get this right and for this I apologize to Shane, his family, his teammates, and the entire Michigan family.  It is a critical lesson to us about how vigilant and disciplined we must always be to ensure student-athlete safety. As president, I will take all necessary steps to make sure that occurs and to enforce the necessary accountability for our success in this regard.

Our communications going forward will be direct, transparent and timely. The University of Michigan stands for the highest level of excellence in everything we do, on and off the field.  That standard will guide my review of this situation and all the University’s future actions. 

 

 

* Listen to the full conversation with John U. Bacon above.

Will Cadillac become a global luxury brand on a par with Germany's Big Three?
User: Erik Daniel Drost / Flickr

 

These are challenging times for the executives who run the luxury brands at General Motors and Ford.

Lincoln has been on wobbly legs for years, and Cadillac is lagging behind the competition, especially the German luxury competition.

Detroit News Business columnist Daniel Howes has been following the Michigan automakers' struggle with the luxury business. He says these companies have largely failed to get luxury buyers to take their products seriously. 

"Lincoln has failed for a long time, in a large part because Ford was not willing to spend the money to make Lincoln differentiated enough. A lot of people will tell you today that Cadillac has got the best product, but the problem is the sales are not producing," says Howes.

media.ford.com

This year marks the 50th birthday of a car that has carved out a big place for itself in American automotive history: the Ford Mustang.

Today on Stateside, we'll take a 50-year look back at the history of the pony car and look ahead to the newest generation. The 2015 Mustang is heading to showrooms next month.

Jay Follis is an automotive historian. He's director of marketing at the Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners in Barry County, and he's looked at the history of the Mustang in the current issue of Michigan History Magazine. Follis says before the introduction of the Mustang, Ford didn't plan on anything new.

Today on Stateside:

  • Food stamp cuts are looming for some Michigan families.
  • Nearly 14 billion years of history in one course: The Big History Project is designed to change the way our kids learn history.
  • Living in the Upper Peninsula means you might drive 60 miles one way to get to a well-stocked grocery store. We looked at food insecurity in the U.P.
  • Water shutoffs to Detroiters who haven't paid their bills are not going to stop – that was the result of a ruling today by federal bankruptcy judge Stephen Rhodes.
  • Michigan Radio's Tracy Samilton reported on the Cody Comets' first game on their new field, named "Hope Field."

* Listen to the full show above.

Maegan Tintari / Flickr

Water shutoffs to Detroiters who haven't paid their bills are not going to stop.

That's the result of a ruling today by federal bankruptcy judge Stephen Rhodes.

Michigan Radio's Detroit reporter Sarah Cwiek says this ruling came in response to a lawsuit filed by Detroit residents and activists who wanted Judge Rhodes to issue a six-month moratorium on the controversial water shutoffs.

Bridge Cards are accepted at the Fulton Street Farmers Market in Grand Rapids.
User: Michigan Municipal League / Flickr

Tens of thousands of Michigan families will soon see their food stamp benefits trimmed.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as SNAP, was scaled back in the new farm bill.

Many states have been using a loophole to combat SNAP cuts through paying a higher cost for a "heat and eat" assistance program. By providing just $1 in heating assistance, states had been able to help families qualify for extra food stamps. But under the new farm bill, the minimum "heat and eat" payment is jumping to $21.

And Michigan is one of only four states that hasn't decided a way to continue engaging in these loopholes to avoid SNAP cuts.

One of the assignments in the Big History course is to have students use their personal narratives to understand the importance of scale.
User: Big History Project / facebook

 

If you had a typical American high school experience, chances are you trudged through the day, going from one period to another – maybe starting with algebra, then over to American lit, then chemistry or biology, on to history, and so on.

History in particular gets a bum rap, with grumbling about memorizing dates and names.

What's missing? A sense of all of this knowledge being connected.

Enter the Big History Project. Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates has become a champion of this new way to teach history, and he's using his own money to develop this new history curriculum for high schools.

Today on Stateside: 

  • Investigative reporter Lester Graham is ready to blow the whistle on this season's political ads.
  • How about new businesses in Detroit? And we're not talking Cars or Shinola, but a vegan Coney Island.
  • Morning in America to criminal three-strikes laws, we use analogies every day. But we hardly pay much attention to them.
  • It's been sad trumpet sounds for University of Michigan football lately.
  • Emergency managers are allowed to stay in power for 18 months under Michigan's emergency management law.

*Listen to the full show above.

 

A recent report says you will see one political ad every two minutes on television in Michigan.

Michigan Radio's Lester Graham has been working with Bridge Magazine's Truth Squad, looking at how truthful political ads are this election cycle. Graham says one of the misconceptions of political ads is to believe that those ads don't lie.

In fact, FCC has rules in place that forbid broadcasters from challenging or changing a political candidate's ad. That gives the candidates freedom to say things that could have little resemblance to the truth. 

Kevyn Orr
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

 

Eighteen months is how long emergency managers are allowed to stay in power under Michigan's emergency management law. It has now been 18 months that Kevyn Orr has been in charge of Detroit's finances.

There have been closed-door meetings between Mayor Mike Duggan and Detroit City Council this week, talking about Orr's future.

Michigan Radio's Detroit reporter Sarah Cwiek says the meeting has been working on the transition process but specific details are still unknown. 

Detroit Free Press columnist Nancy Kaffer says Orr has been walking a fine line, and his current situation is a strange place to be.

*Listen to our conversation with Sarah Cwiek and Nancy Kaffer above.

Detroit skyline.
user JSFauxtaugraphy / Flickr

 

Here are some easy-a** ways to make money in Detroit. 

That was the headline on a recent Jalopnik blog by Aaron Foley. He says he wants to offer up his ideas for all Detroiters who want to make money, but don't want to spend too much. 

Some of these ideas and Foley's own explanation:

  • A gay bar inside of a firehouse – "No brainer! There are so many empty firehouses."
  • A vegan Coney Island – "Not what I would personally want, but ...what better place to experience different food styles in Detroit than the Coney Island?"
  • An agency that teaches new Detroiters not to be offensive – "Sometimes folks just don't know how to talk to a black or Latino person without sounding dense."

* Listen to our conversation with Aaron Foley above.

 

The stands are thinning out.
User: larrysphatpage / Flickr

 

John U. Bacon joined Stateside to talk about University of Michigan football and head coach Brady Hoke. 

Bacon says it hasn't been much fun for the Wolverines on the field, with eight losses out of the last 12 games. However, Bacon adds it has been even less fun off the field, with the stands increasingly empty.

"What I'm seeing in Michigan fans is they are upset that they are not upset, that they are alarmed by their lack of alarm. What I'm seeing now is something I haven't seen before – that is indifference," says Bacon.

* Listen to our conversation with John U. Bacon above.

 

John Pollack says it's important to tell true analogies from false ones.
user: RCB / Flickr

We use analogies every day. Yet we rarely think about them. They're just part of our vocabulary and our speech. 

But for John Pollack, analogies are not something to be ignored.

Pollack is the author of the new book Shortcut: How Analogies Reveal Connection, Spark Innovation and Sell Our Greatest Ideas. He believes analogies often have big consequences on how we view the world.

For example, Pollack says there are a lot of analogies that ring true that actually turn out not to be true. 

Pollack mentions the case of the "domino theory" President Eisenhower used in 1954.

The analogy convinced Americans that if they didn't intervene in Vietnam, democratic governments across Southeast Asia would topple like dominoes.

While the analogy translated something complex and far away into everyday language, it falsified the situation: When U.S. forces withdrew from Hanoi in defeat, the neighboring countries didn't topple like dominoes.

Today on Stateside:

  • Term limits were passed by Michigan voters more than 20 years ago. Now, Republican Senate Leader Randy Richardville is ready to change that.
  • There are food decathlons and celebrity chefs today, but when did food become entertainment?!
  • A bad movie gets a bad review. But a bad bottle of wine? Not so much.
  • Six weeks from today will mean the beginning of the state's lame-duck legislative session. What are we going to see this year?
  • The 4th Annual Detroit Design Festival is taking place this week in the city with over 60 events.
  • In 80 to 90 years, Detroit could see a huge trend of people moving in because of climate change, according to an environment expert.

* Listen to the full show above.

The green acid-washed chair by Mobel Link.
User: Detroit Design Festival / Facebook

The 4th Annual Detroit Design Festival is taking place this week in the city with over 60 events.

Sam Moschelli is the sponsorship director at the Detroit chapter of the American Institute of Architects – the group putting on an event this Thursday evening at Eastern Market. Moschelli says he believes there are opportunities for both creating new and revitalizing old.

"The golden age of Detroit was in the 1920s and 1930s. We were known as the 'Paris of the Midwest.' People used to come here to study architecture and to understand the buildings of the era. That building stock is some of our most important resources that we have in the region," says Moschelli.

Detroit by Design event producer Rich Rice says the opportunity and energy that the city offers for artists are catching lots of attention internationally. 

"People talk about the arts movements. The older creatives say back in the 1980s in New York .... [Detroit] feels a lot like what was going on there," says Rice

*Listen to our conversation with Sam Moschelli and Rich Rice above.

User: Raul Lieberwirth / Flickr

A bad movie gets a bad review. But a bad bottle of wine? Not so much.

Critic Chris Cook of Hour Detroit magazine was recently asked why he doesn’t write about bad wine. 

"I just think there's too much out there that's good these days to be concentrating on a lot of the bad stuff. In the wine world in particular, the technology has gotten so good that the wines are much much better than they used to be," Cook responded.

He also says judgment on wine could be questionable when personal tastes come in. 

As the fall gets underway, Cook is excited about the lighter style red wine such as pinot noir. 

For Thanksgiving, Cook is looking forward to inky wines instead, like Malbec.

*Listen to the full interview with Chris Cook above.

User: M P R / Flickr

 

When did food become entertainment? There are celebrity chefs and television stations devoted to food 24 hours a day and dozens of slick magazines all about food.

Recently the Fifth Third Ballpark made news for hosting a "Food Decathlon" where you got a punch card and were rewarded by eating all the food, including "The Baco," which is a taco with a bacon shell.

Margot Finn focuses on food studies at the University of Michigan. She says food has always been both a form of nutrition and a form of entertainment, but there has been a rise of popular interest in food since around the late 1970s. 

User: memories_by_mike / Flickr

As an article in the New York Times put it this week, “Alaskans stay in Alaska. People in the Midwest and the Pacific Northwest: sit tight.” That’s the message from climate change researchers, who are predicting what places in the U.S. will be hit hardest by climate change.

It looks like the Midwest will be all right, relatively speaking.

Matthew Kahn is a professor at the UCLA Institute of Environment. He says that in 80 or 90 years, Detroit could be seeing a huge trend of people moving in – because of climate change.

"If rainfall really stops falling in the Southwest, and we don't come up with ways to allocate water efficiently, you're going to see millions of households and thousands of firms looking across the United States for better, less risky places to live. And the Midwest might compete very well there, just as it has in the past," says Kahn. 

*Listen to our conversation with Matthew Kahn above.

Michigan Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, R-Monroe.
Photo courtesy of Richardville's office

There's been talk in Lansing about whether term limits should be extended, and that talk is heating up. 

Michigan voters approved term limits for state lawmakers back in 1992, but Republican Sen. Majority Leader Randy Richardville thinks maybe it's time they are extended.

Richardville says Michigan has the most restrictive term limits in the country. Other states have either rescinded or eased term limits and, he believes Michigan should review the legislation as well.

Jack Lessenberry is Michigan Radio's political analyst, and he says term limits have been an unmitigated disaster. 

On this first full-day of Fall, we are in for some perfect autumn-weather.

It might be the one time where saying "Michigan weather" actually means a good thing.

We also go hunting for enormous mushrooms;  we learn about new research that finds truth in the saying “happy wife, happy life”;  we talk about cultures assimilating in Detroit; and we hear how the Cass Community United Methodist Church has been helping the poor since the 1930s.

But first on the show, we talked about campaign ads.

With the November election now six weeks away, the campaign ads are ever present.

If you wonder just who's picking up the tab for the ads, particularly the issue-oriented ads, that answer is pretty hard to find in Michigan. Political spending rules allow quite a lack of transparency.

Some say this leads to corruption. Others disagree. Chris Gautz of Crain's Detroit Business has been talking with both sides.

The Michigan Mushroom Hunters Club "Mushroom of the Month" - the Boletus variipes.
MMHC

There may be folks grumbling about the cool, wet end of summer we've had, but not the “shroomers.”

Mushroom hunters are having a blast with a bumper crop of wild mushrooms.

Philip Tedeschi is president of the Michigan Mushroom Hunters Club.

"Fall has been starting out very good. This summer, the chanterelles and black trumpets and some of my favorite mushrooms come up then," said Tedeschi.

"Right now, the hen of the woods are starting. Hen of the woods is a mushroom that averages about three pounds. The ones I pick are typically one to five pounds. In our club, someone brought in a 42-pounder."

Tedeschi says the record for this mushroom weighs in at more than 100 pounds, from Pennsylvania.

Mushrooms love wet, cool weather.

“Mushrooms are even higher percentage water than animals. They need the water to grow. (In) a dry year we won’t see very many mushrooms at all,” he said.

*Listen to our interview with Tedeschi above.

mconnors / morgueFile

Is there anyone who hasn't scanned the radio dial on a long road trip and endured noisy static,  angry talk shows, and music that disappoints  in a desperate search for a classic rock station?

But who knew the classic rock concept was born in Michigan almost 30 years ago?

Fred Jacobs, an Oakland County-based radio consultant, was part of that birth in 1985. He said WMMQ in Charlotte, Michigan, was the first classic rock station, and the format quickly spread across the country.

Jacobs said he was inspired by complaints from listeners who couldn't find the music they had grown up with and loved. 

Jacobs said classic rock is not the same as "golden oldies." It is about the golden age of rock – music people will still be listening to in 100 years. 

Jacobs said classic rock started with music from the 60s and 70s and musicians like the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Who, and Eric Clapton. 

But he said it's all about the music of your youth that you never get tired of hearing.  And as generations move on, classic rock has added 80s and even more recent music to its roster.

More than $50 billion. That's how much Lansing will spend this year. But how to get everyone to agree on where to spend that money. That's where things get interesting.

Today on Stateside, we talked about the fight over taxing and spending.

Also today - Michigan's Freedom of Information Act regulates the disclosure of public records by all public bodies in the state - or so says the State Attorney General's Office in a pamphlet explaining the law.

But, just a few lines down is something that many citizens may not be aware of: the "public body" does not include the governor's office - or the lieutenant governor - or their employees.

Reporter Paul Egan took a look at Michigan's public records law in yesterday's Detroit Free Press.

We also talked about how one band worked Spotify to pay for their tour, the history of the classic rock format, and who owns the Great Lakes.

Vulfpeck

We’ve heard it before. The music industry is changing.

But the band Vulfpeck is challenging the music industry with silence.

Vulfpeck is a funk band that got its start at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

They are in the middle of a cross-country tour.

They aren’t charging admission, they aren’t paying out of pocket.

Their tour is completely funded from an album they put up on the online music steaming service Spotify – an album that was completely silent.

Today on Stateside:

  •  We found out how one Michigan college succeeds at recruiting and graduating low-income students.
  • Why GM can't put the ignition-switch scandal in its rear-view mirror.
  • Our sports commentator digested the late-season roller-coaster ride for Tigers fans.
  • U.S. Sen. Carl Levin is retiring this year. Why does his exit make the corporate world exhale?
  • A conversation with Michigan author Julie Lawson Timmer about her debut novel: "Five Days Left."

*Listen to the full show above.

Kalamazoo College campus
user: Kalamazoo College / facebook

 

When it comes to recruiting and graduating low-income students, one school that is clearly getting it right is Kalamazoo College.

The New York Times ranks Kalamazoo College No. 12 in the nation among elite colleges that enroll a large percentage of PELL-grant eligible students.

The PELL grant is a solid indicator, since many students in families above the poverty level do not qualify for these grants.

Eileen Wilson-Oyelaran is president of Kalamazoo College. She says attracting and keeping low-income students have been a priority of the college and part of its institutional mission: 

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